Reactivating the Repatriation General Hospital, South Australia

There was considerable passion in the community for the Repatriation General Hospital (Repat), some of which stemmed from its history as a place for veterans and the role the Repat had played in helping so many families through difficult times.

It was also an important public resource; providing an important opportunity to support the provision of health and wellbeing services in the southern suburbs. As a consequence, it was vital that clinicians from across SA Health, stakeholders and the wider community help to set the directions for the future for a reactivated Repat Health Precinct (post its closure as a hospital).

The Approach

The Government’s objective with the community engagement process was to create a transparent process to provide the South Australian community and stakeholders with an opportunity to participate in and contribute to the creative process of refining a Master Plan for the reactivation of the Repat.

In July 2018 democracyCo were commissioned to design and run a community engagement process in August / September on the reactivation of the Repat site, that built on the Government’s previous work with key stakeholders and clinicians.

The engagement process with the community started on 15 August and closed on 16 September.

It designed to enable the community to learn about the options for the site, to hear diverse views from stakeholders and interested individuals and have time to personally reflect on what they want on the site before providing their feedback.

This was achieved through the following mechanisms.

  1. The publication of an Issues Guide – “Reactivating the Repat; Let’s Talk about the future of the Repat South Australia”
  2. A public launch of the process which featured speakers talking from a range of perspectives about the options / possibilities
  3. An information website showcasing videos from the launch of the speakers and members of the community talking about their priorities for the Repat.
  4. A consultation session in a ‘speed dialogue’ format involving experts and stakeholders speaking from a range of perspectives was held on 1 September.
  5. An online poll to collect people’s views
  6. A submission template for organisations and or individuals preferring to share their views this way.

Issues Guide

The Guide was the centerpiece of the engagement process. It was created to help the community to think carefully about the future of the Repat site and what would constitute the best use of the site within the health system.

The Guide was cognisant of the fact that there are many different views about how the site should be used. It aimed to help people to reflect on how the site could best support the delivery of health services in the South and contribute to health services more broadly in metropolitan Adelaide.

Online Survey and Submission process

Having had the opportunity to read and consider the advice and views of stakeholders and experts South Australians could then share their views about their preferred services for the Repat through the online survey or through the submission template. 

Both were provided on the government’s online engagement portal YourSAy.

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We acknowledge that we have much work to do.